When I step back to consider all the the voices vying for my attention . . . the emails, social media, podcasts, newscasts, publications, seminars, phone calls, meetings and even the occasional snail mail . . . it’s as if Grinch narrator Boris Karloff is in my head booming “Oh the noise, noise, noise, noise!” In 2020 alone, people created 1.7 MB of data every second. Every day, 306.4 billion emails are sent and 500 million tweets are posted.
In the midst of such an onslaught of data, how does one sort through to find the nuggets of information that can move you closer to your goals? A good place to start is to screen out everything that doesn’t fit into one of three buckets: Intentional, Industry, and Interest.
Intentional information requires you to be clear on your goals. What — specifically — are you trying to accomplish? Where do you need new insight . . . from experts, from end users, from unrelated industries that may have tackled a similar challenge? Intentional information is data you seek out, as opposed to getting sidetracked by those who assume they know what you need. Sure, you may occasionally receive an unsolicited email touting just the product/information you need at any given time (which of course, you recognize because you are clear on your goals), but in most cases, you are driving the search for this information.
Industry data allows you to stay up to date on the latest trends or forecasts for your sector. This one has become a bit trickier to distill as companies have become more creative in offering glimpses of the future that they can help you address. (I’m not knocking marketers — that’s my background — just highlighting that there are some really effective ones out there working to meet their goals, not necessarily yours). Find several neutral sources that have a track record of identifying trends, both in your sector as well as business/economy overall.
While this may seem to be the broadest category, like intentional and industry data, information related to your interests should be something you seek out rather than just passively consume. Where would you like to take a deeper dive . . . perhaps related to a current or desired hobby, stress reduction, a trend unrelated to your work that peaks your interest? And it really doesn’t take that much effort on your part. Algothrims will ensure that one source of information will multiply to three or four or more.
The trick to cutting through all the noise, noise, noise noise is to be proactive, rather than reactive. When you know specifically what you are looking for, those messages rise to the top, making it easier to turn down the volume on all the other voices.
The more you are clear, the better you can hear.